Monfort pictures online?

Dora

Active member
#1
Hi all,

As some of you know already, I finished my PhD dissertation on Bukowski (hurray!).

In 10 days I will have my defense in Paris, which will last around 4 hours while I'm on a jetlag :emo: I received the preliminary reports, where among other things, I was reproached with not analysing any photo of Bukowski, even though I did emphasize Michael Monfort's important role in his career.

I have only 10 days left, and do not have access to the books where I could find enough pictures to see patterns. I just need to observe enough pictures to have something to say about them.

Also, to the forum afficiniados, would you say that digging out pre-Monfort pictures of Bukowski are as difficult to do as digging out manuscript, and did you notice any problems in tracing the origins of those pictures? I have seen some interesting debates on the forum, and was wondering if it is a usual pattern. I do feel that wrting the history of Bukowski photography would be a long and complicated endeavor and I wonder if my intuition is right.
 

roni

Well-known member
#2
Hi Dora, you sure know Sounes' book 'Bukowski in pictures' which shows that there indeed is a lot of non-Montfort material out there.
i.g. there's a bunch of photos from the Webb-era and also from the early 70s (Wolberg) and mid-70s (Ganij/Alberts).

If you're looking for a pattern in the Montfort-photographs, I'd say that he focuses on the 'everyday-Bukowski', more or less using a snapshot-technique, trying to show a private, supposedly authentic person rather than a big author. He also never used artificial lightning (to my knowledge) when photographing Bukowski, which adds to that impression.

This was also part of his mission-briefing when he got his very first job to photograph Bukowski. Here's a snipplet from the letter by 'Rogner's Magazine':

MM-mission-briefing_1977-04-25.jpg


it says: "We need a selection of black&white photos of Bukowski in private."
 

Dora

Active member
#3
Hey Roni,

Thank you for your super useful input.:) I was still wondering about something: sometimes it does feel that Bukowski is somewhat posing -especially when drinking from an empty bottle, or those famous profiles pictures. IIRC, he also did not look into the camera most of the time with Monfort pictures, but that could be related to what you said about Monfort wanting to take pictures that look natural. I guess what I am wondering about is, to what extend this appearance of authenticity and naturalness is actually staged, kind of like in his writing.

And a question that was raised in my preliminary report, and which makes sense I think, is how come a man who was famously embarrassed by his appearance/face would deliberately seek the company of a photographer, or, in the word of this professor, desire the presence of this photographer, and let so many pictures of him being out in the public. In my opinion, it is mostly for marketing reasons: Bukowski did say about his face on the Erection collection that it helped him sell more. But it still raises some interesting questions.

For instance, even as he grew more comfortable later, he did need alcohol to go through public readings. There is a self-consciousness in Bukowski that is often overlooked. But in the Hamburg videos, he does say that he turns into an actor when he's on stage (which is probably what helps him go through it. He goes into Chinaski mode). To what extend this being an actor, or state of being on stage, would apply to the pictures? What do you think?

Sorry for the long nerdy rant :oops:
 

Johannes

Founding member
Well-known member
#5
I remember reading a Montfort-interview where he said that Bukowski told him that he didn't like to pose for photos before their Hamburg trip (I believe) but then was somewhat disappointed with the pictures because they were so candid.

Does anybody remember this interview? Do I remember correctly? Can't find it now but I most likely read it here in the forum somewhere.
 

roni

Well-known member
#6
Dora:
of course, Bukowski was "posing" to look natural. But this doesn't neccessarily mean, that the image he was showing while posing was not himself and authentic. Both can be the case and I think is.

Johannes:
I think I remember a published letter, where Buk complains that people are accusing him of treating Montfort unfair by giving him "only" 50% of the money from 'Shakespeare'. Buk says something like: His text would even sell without the pictures, but the pictures wouldn't sell without his text. (the latter part of the statement I dare to doubt.)

From interviews with MM in magazines and on TV I remember him stating that, when he showed up for the first shooting at Bukowski's place, he brought a whole cask or case of wine and that's what convinced Bukowski that he's a decent guy.
 
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mjp

Staff member
Founding member
Well-known member
#7
To Carl Weissner, August 1, 1978
Still on page 30 on the travel book; the photos rather staid—don’t tell Michael I said this—they need a drink or a goose in the ass. anyhow, I might save the thing? If I ever go to France there’ll be no photographer along and nobody is going to plan me a little picture tour. I know people mean well, they want me on a boat or looking at a castle. I think slowly. next time it’s my turn. I felt as if I were tied with ropes and drugged most of the German trip. in France if I wanna sit at a fucking table and drink for 3 days I’ll do so. unless a man’s nature is allowed to reach the surface it’s no good being anywhere. well, enough of that bitching.

To Carl Weissner, March 24, 1979
I’ve had people scream at me that I’m not treating M. Montfort right on the book. I don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. I’m offering him half, and I know that the book would sell without the photos but that the photos would not sell without the prose, so I don’t see how I’m particularly laying anybody open.
 
#8
As some of you know already, I finished my PhD dissertation on Bukowski (hurray!).

In 10 days I will have my defense in Paris, which will last around 4 hours while I'm on a jetlag :emo:
Hi Dora
Congrats on your PhD and good luck on your defense I am sure it will be very interesting! I only started my phd on Bukowski in November 2016 and would be very interested to come and see you for your defense, as I will be in France at that time!
 

Dora

Active member
#9
Hi Dora
Congrats on your PhD and good luck on your defense I am sure it will be very interesting! I only started my phd on Bukowski in November 2016 and would be very interested to come and see you for your defense, as I will be in France at that time!
Writing quickly as I am at work.

Here are the details for my defense: La thèse aura lieu au bâtiment B, rez-de-chaussée, salle René Rémond.Université de Nanterre." I's at the Universite de Nanterre, in the Paris suburbs. You would need to take the RER A. Would be great to have you there!
 
#11
Writing quickly as I am at work.

Here are the details for my defense: La thèse aura lieu au bâtiment B, rez-de-chaussée, salle René Rémond.Université de Nanterre." I's at the Universite de Nanterre, in the Paris suburbs. You would need to take the RER A. Would be great to have you there!
Great! I'll definitely try to make it! It's on Friday right? What time would it be? :)
 
#14
How did it go? Your defense?

It's a bit late now, but there was Sam Cherry's photo of Buk climbing onto a freight wagon. While Sam was trying to take the photo apparently Buk found it very difficult to hold on and tried to get Sam to hurry up. So, I guess that is a posed picture but it still looks really good.

Buk definitely found it a struggle to get in front of a crowd. I know at the big reading hosted by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, was it the Poets' Theatre?, anyway he was throwing up before he walked out onto the stage.
 

zobraks

Well-known member
#18
Woo-hoo! Thanks!

P.S. Nothing can beat Buk's photos with Tina Darby (the ones that stupid Linda King had torn apart >:(().
 
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